RAF Aeroplane Crash at Old Denaby (picture)

November 1935

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 1, 1935

RAF Aeroplane Crash at Old Denaby

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Old Denaby residents had their biggest thrill for many a long day on Monday, when, during the morning, an RAF aeroplane, K 3155, flown solo by Flying Officer Stainthorpe stationed at Upavon, Wiltshire, landed in a field occupied by an old Denaby farmer, Mr John Downing, when making a forced landing.

The field adjoins Denaby Wood, and it was at the corner of this wood, which forms a boundary with the Denaby Works of British Westphalite Ltd, that the machine finally came to rest.

Accompanying Flying Officer Stainthorpe’s plane was another machine, containing two airman, and it is understood that they approached the district from the High Melton direction and flew over Mexborough Pastures. On arrival in the Denaby area they circled round the district, flying at a low altitude, and teachers in the local schools had great difficulty in keeping their scholars from the windows.

Visibility was bad, and in making a forced landing Flying Officer Stainthorpe travelled through a hedge, across Mr Downing’s field, and came to rest through the wood fence and against two trees. The propeller and nose of the plane were between the trees, but the wing and the front of the cockpit were badly damaged, the cockpit being caught by an overhanging bough, which was broken off.

The second plane also alighted, but made an excellent landing in the adjoining field, clear of the wood. The pilot and his friend hurried over to the crashed machine, but happily found Flying Officer Stainthorpe unscathed.

The airmen immediately made their way over to the Powder Works, communicated by telephone to the air authorities, and the undamaged machine took off again, leaving Flying Officer Stainthorpe to await the arrival of relief men. Denaby police were summoned to Old Denaby, and they had a busy time keeping back the large crowd who tore across the neighbouring fields to obtain a close view of the wreck. The police, however, kept the machine under strict watch, and few people were able to get within 20 yards of the plane.

In the field at the time of the mishap were a large number of cows and sheep belonging to Mr Downing, but shortly before the arrival of their airmen he had given the cattle a meal of kale, and they were all at the opposite end of the field, busy with their “lunch.”

The pilots, who were hampered by the poor visibility, obviously found the hilly nature of the district difficult to find a satisfactory landing ground.

A “Times” reported was told that for quite a time before the planes came down Flying Officer Stainthorpe’s machine was “hitting and missing.”